Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Normally when there is buzz around a book and I go to read it, i end up thinking it’s a lot of old rubbish. I think sub consciously I don’t want to conform to the general opinion. However, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is an incredible book. I cannot remember many times that once finishing a book, wanting to read it all over again. I would quite happily have done so with this book.

Eleanor spends her days working as an administrator, keeps her head down and doesn’t speak to anyone. She spends evenings on her own and her weekends drinking herself into oblivion. She speaks to her mother on a Wednesday evening, without fail.

Her life is pretty unremarkable and slightly sad, until she witnesses a man collapse in the middle of the street with her colleague Raymond. She is forced to deal with things outside of her comfort zone. She takes a liking to a rockstar who sounds like an absolute ass, however not having much contact with other people she thinks he’s wonderful even though she’s never met him.

Raymond and Eleanor strike up a close friendship and he makes he realise that she needs to change and try new things. He helps her to forget her past with her abusive mother and violent boyfriend.

I think what makes the novel so great is the fact that Eleanor is not your typical protagonist – she’s not super pretty, isn’t hugely ambitious or successful, she’s a woman with Asperger’s trying to get on with life the only way she knows how. The novel made me laugh and want to cry. I would throughly recommend this novel and can easily say this is the best book I’ve read so far this year.

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The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

I love Liane Moriarty’s novels – I’ve read Big Little Lies and Truly Madly Guilty and they are the ultimate chick lit- thrillers, if there is such a thing.

The Husband’s Secret is in the same vein. Cecilia’s life is a little too perfect – she has three wonderful, daughters, a loving husband, John-Paul, who earns loads, the big house and every minute of her life is meticulously planned. Something big is going to happen.

Rachel is still realing from the murder of her daughter, Janey, some twenty years ago. She dotes on her grandson Jacob however is left distraught when her son and daughter in law reveal they are taking him to New York. Rachel is convinced Conner Whitby murdered her daughter but there’s not enough evidence to convict him.

Tess runs to her mother’s when she finds out that her husband and cousin have fallen in love. She takes their son and then embarks on an affair with Connor.

* spoiler alert *

When Cecilia is cleaning out the loft she finds a letter addressed to her which states she must only open it after the death of her husband. Intrigued, she eventually decides to open the letter which reveals that in a silly moment of rage John-Paul actually killed Janey. Janey was dating both Connor Whitby and John-Paul and when she broke things off with John-Paul he strangled her.

However the last chapter of the novel reveals that if events and fate had taken a differnt turn some things could have been avoided.

With holiday season nearly upon us, this is the perfect beach read.